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Friday, October 27, 2006
And still another pulp post...
One of the things I do in my PBP games is give each character a sort of “Mini-adventure before the actual game starts. Nothing fancy just an encounter so that the player and I can get a handle on the character. It can also help to establish a little background outside of the usual dry character background write ups. The scene below is from a “Lost Worlds” Pulp game I’m currently running, It’s a series of back and forth posts edited together. This is an encounter set several days before the actual adventure begins. The character is globe-trotting Geologist / Adventurer- Archibald “Archie” Armstrong.
Three days till the ship leaves for San Francisco. Three days in paradise. Beats the hell out of West Virginia. Archie thought to himself.
Sitting back in his rattan chair enjoying some Filipino egg rolls that Lita had called “Lumpia”- good stuff, At the moment life was good... Archie sat up as Lita returned to his table with a tray holding a bottle of whiskey and two glasses.
“Did you miss me?” she said with a twinkle in her eye.
Lita was Filipino / Hawaiian with golden skin, long, silky black hair, and a body that would put Venus De Milo to shame.
“You know,” she said as she nuzzled close to him and proceeded to pour the drinks, “I don’t get off for another two hours. But if you want to pay my “bar fine” we could go to Waikiki, my cousin plays in the band at the Royal Hawaiian hotel. It’s a real high-class place.”
Archie’s attention turns from the beauty at his side to the bar where a group of Merchant sailors are loudly announcing their arrival. One of the larger sailors turns as he lifts a mug of beer, and spies Archie’s table.
“Lita baby!” he exclaims. “C’mere and give me some luvvin baby doll!”
“Just ignore him honey.” Lita says as she takes a swig of her drink.
“Hey, HEY!” the sailor exclaims. “What the hell? Are you ignoring me?”
Another sailor attempts to restrain him, “C’mon Nick, lets get a drink.”
“Naw” Nick says, pushing his friend away. “I ain’t letting no damn Chink Bargirl, give me the blow off.”
The sailor stalks over to Archie’s table. “Who do you think you are huh? You two-bit floozy, playing it up all innocent for this Mook?” he says as he points to Archie.
Armstrong stood up, positioning himself between Lita and the bellicose sailor, he did so while maintaining enough distance that he wouldn't be sucker punched in the process.
Archie had been down this road before, many times and in many countries.. But at least this time he actually had the luxury of understanding the language of the goon in front of him.
"That's "Mr. Mook" to you swabbie, ya better put dat finger away if you wanna keep it!! I gots ten damn good reasons why youse should apologize to the lady and go sit down with your buddies"
Archie then gave the merchant seaman his "steely eyed glare". Unblinking and without emotion, most men would wither under Armstrong's intense stare. Those who encountered it called it the “dead face". More often then not this would settle a fracas before it would happen. If that wasn't the case even though he appeared relaxed, Archie was ready for the "Oh so familiar” pugilistic dance.
The whole bar went quiet except the sound of the angry sailor's breathing.
Nick meets Archie’s stare.
No one will ever accuse Nick of being the sharpest tool in the shed, but the sailor knows a bruiser when he sees one. Nicks a bully and a loudmouth and when he looks into Archie’s eyes he sees neither.
Looking down at Lita who is sitting at the table, Nick mumbles an apology and backs off.
“That was close” Lita says as she daintily closes the butterfly knife she was holding under the table and secures it in her garter. “I need this job.”
Looking at Archie again “So what do you say Guapo? Wanna go buy a girl a steak?”
Archie silently remains standing as he watches Nick humbly go sit back down at the table of merchant seaman.
There is a sigh of relief from the bartender and the rest of the bar resumes it's usual drunken jovial hub-bub.
Armstrong nod's at the fellow who tried to restrain Nick, the sailor raises his mug of beer as a salute in return. Archie turn's and grins down at Lita.
"Ya want's steak does ya baby!?.. I just can't say no to those honey brown eyes of yours darlin'..So let's blow this Popsicle stand and you take me to this fancy hotel you wuz talking about and, Archie winks. "We can watch your cousin play his ukulele"
Giggling, Lita lithfully rises and the bar looks on in envy as Archie hands the Mama-san a twenty and escorts Lita out of the bar into the warm Hawaiian night.
An incessant knock finally rouses Archie from his pillow. Running his fingers through his hair, his eyes slowly adjust to the daylight streaming from his Hotel window. Taking a deep breath he stands and locates his skivvies. Sliding them on, he glances at the beautiful naked form of Lita as she lay sleeping.
Archie mumbles something incoherent as he covers Lita's lower half with the bed sheet and heads for the door.
Distractedly scratching his rear, Archie grumpily stomps towards the banging door while muttering to himself. " Rassin' Frassin'...*grumble*...don't ya know a fella needs his beauty sleep..."
In one very swift action Archie hurls the door open.
"What part of DO NO DISTURB do you not understand!!!!?” He bellows.
In the hallway are two serious looking men in grey suits. Suits, in Hawaii.
Suit #1 speaks first “Mr. Armstrong.” A statement rather than a question. “I'm Mister Smith and this is Mister Jones.” Smith deftly presents his credentials-they’re legit (Archie also notices that “Smith” has a heater in a shoulder rig, which means “Jones” is probably packing as well).
Smith continues “We’re with the War Department and we’ve been sent to escort you to Hickam Airfield where a plane is waiting for you. Your presence is requested in Washington at the highest level.”
Mr. Jones finally breaks his silence. “We’ll wait out here Sir, while you get ready and uh…say yer goodbyes.”
Archie quickly soaked in the situation and grinned at the stern proper clean-cut men.
"Sure fella's..I guess I'm back in the saddle huh? See ya PDQ!!!" He whispered as he quietly closed the door.
Armstrong silently dressed and quickly packed his valise; his years living abroad meant he knew how to travel light and just pack the essentials. His mind raced as to what could be so important that two of J. Edger's finest would be escorting a mug like him to the big ol' Washington DC? And by plane no less. This was something big..
He strode over to the sultry sleeping form on the bed..
"What was her name again?" he wondered? He felt a little sad, so many ports, so many open arms but the connection always fleeting. At the very least a gentleman remembers the name of his dalliance.
"Lita!...right...Wow..Wotta gal!" he thought to himself while trying to remember the previous night.
He gently nudged her shoulder, as she was beginning to awake Archie spoke in a low voice.
"Lita baby, sorry honey but I gotta go, I just got word I have to go work for my uncle. Next time I am on the island I'll look you up"
Archie turned and walked towards the door to leave, grinning while thinking about the world famous Hawaiian hospitality.